deal with jet lag

Best 9 Tips To Deal With A Jet Lag

Hello My Dear Aviator,

welcome back to my blog. I just returned home from my bucket list destination – Tulum in Mexico – and I am about to fly to Brazil in a few days. Both destinations lay in different time zones compared to Germany. Tulum time is 6 hours and Sao Paulo 4 hours behind Germany. Many of you have been wondering how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post I will share the ultimative 9 best tips to deal with jet lag and its side effects due to flying east or west around the globe.

How to deal with jet lag

In my case I am staying in between Mexico and Brazil since it is only one week between both travels – that way I am avoiding jet lag completely. Currently, this means I am staying up until 2/3am in the morning which is 10 /11pm in the evening in São Paulo and sleeping in everyday.

 Thumbs up – Next trip you will deal better with jetlag.

deal with jet lag

The brandnew Airbus A330NEO

1. FLY PREMIUM ✈️

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects of a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. This is a quite costly tip I know. Most airlines offer seats which fully convert into a flatbed to have a good rest, arriving at your destination refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last few years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge. However those seats do not convert into a flatbed.

I recommend collecting miles to either get a reward ticket or to use them to upgrade your flight. Another way to fly Business Class for a decent price is to bid on empty seats. Use your booking code online to see which alternatives your airline offers.

deal with jet lag

2. RESERVE YOUR SEAT 💺

Besides having a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of jet lag. 

When booking your ticket, reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed into the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats.

  •  Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally recommend booking a seat by the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind. 
  • When dropping your luggage at the airport, I would also ask the airline staff whether the seat next to you is still free or if they could possibly preposition you to an empty row. It’s always worth asking.

deal with jet lag

Business Class Seat of TAP Air Portugal

3. STAY HYDRATED💧

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml of still water or juice every hour. So on a 10 hours flight this means you need to drink at least 2,3 liters. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine or champagne during the meal helps to fall asleep easier. But do not get wasted! This will aggravate jet lag.

deal with jet lag

Drink enough. Coconut water is rich in vitamins / Location: Ritz Carlton Cancun

4. MOVE YOUR BUTT 🍑

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which helps eliminate the risk of thrombosis. The inflight entertainment of most airlines shows exercises you can do during the flight.

deal with jet lag

Go outside and exercise Location: Amanasala Resort Tulum

5. SLEEP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE 😴

Sleeping will recharge your body so that you have more energy when you arrive at your destination. On red-eye flights, where you fly through the night and land early in the morning, I recommend sleeping as much as possible. Maybe it’s better to skip a meal and get some rest instead.

deal with jet lag

Comfy beds at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

6. RESET YOUR WATCH ⌚️

Once you take off, reset your watch to the new timezone. Do not constantly calculate which time it would be back home. This will confuse you and your body immensely.

deal with jet lag

Sunrise in Tulum at Amanasala Resort

7. BE COMFORTABLE 💆‍♂️

Bring everything on board which makes you feel comfortable. Take pajamas if you feel like it. An absolute must are noise canceling headphones, ear plugs, sleeping masks and a travel pillow, toothbrush and lip balm.

deal with jet lag

Amenity Kit in Business Class

8. POWER NAP 🛌

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes, find a comfortable place and turn on “non-disturb on” your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterwards.

deal with jet lag

Beach Club at Amanasala Resort

What to do when jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep well and now the whole day lays ahead of you. If your schedule permits I would suggest going to bed now and sleeping for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake you up mentally and physically.

deal with jet lag

Jet lag – behavioural recommendations:

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain at the time of departure so you do not get double jet lag.
  • Wear comfortable clothing 

deal with jet lag

The body adjusts approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

 

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever-like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website Zentrum der Gesundheit (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever-like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long-range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What helps you best when you have jet lag? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to like the blog post!

Your Pilot Patrick